Couple demands refund from airline after 13-hour flight with gassy, slobbering dog — then donate money

A New Zealand couple demanded a refund from an airline after they were trapped next to a snorty, gassy creature on a 13-hour flight from Paris to Singapore.

The couple was forced to move into economy when a nervous four-legged passenger openly expressed its discomfort by gassing them out of their premium seats.

Keep reading to learn about what happened and the incredible thing they did with the refund!

In June 2023, Gill and Warren Press boarded a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight from Paris, France, to Singapore, a 13-hour flight where they paid extra for premium economy seats to carry them through to their next stop.

But when they arrived at their assigned seats, they discovered the passenger next to them was traveling with an emotional support dog, whom the owner said was seated with him in the cabin because he (the owner) gets anxious.

The pup was too large to comfortably stay in its designated seat and lay on the floor, taking up Warren’s leg room in the process.

Adding to the pooch poaching the leg space, the couple soon discovered the owner wasn’t the only one who suffered anxiety.

Early in the flight, the nervous animal expressed his uneasiness with repeated flatulence.

“I heard this noise – a heavy snorting,” Gill Press told Stuff New Zealand, which broke the story in September. “I thought it was my husband’s phone, but we looked down and realised it was the dog breathing. I said, ‘I’m not having this sitting next to us the whole trip.’”

The couple spoke with a flight attendant and learned that the only open seats were in the back of the economy cabin, which would not allow them the same level of comfort.

Initially deciding to keep their seats, they sat back, had dinner, and then tried to fall asleep.

That’s when the dog started farting and snorting, Gill shared.

“[The passenger] couldn’t have the dog out in the aisle because they couldn’t get the trolleys through, so it had to come in further, which meant his head was under my husband’s feet.” Gill continued: “My husband was in shorts, and was getting the dog’s saliva goo on his leg.”

At this point, the flight attendant offered the couple seats in the front of the economy cabin that had been reserved for staff.

As the couple moved seats, they were asked to file an incident report to the airline.

After the flight was done, the couple emailed the airline’s customer service team to complain.

Two weeks later, they received an apology along with two $73 gift vouchers to use at the airline’s online gift shop.

But they argued that didn’t cover the difference between their premium economy seats and the economy seats they landed.

Then, three weeks later, the airline responded with a new offer of two travel vouchers worth $118 each.

Offended by the airline lowballing them, the couple then started looking for a full refund for that leg of the journey, which Gill said cost about $2000 for both.

After some rallying back and forth with airline representatives, they were finally given a refund, “as a gesture of goodwill,” for the difference in cabins, which was about $587 each. Altogether, they said they received a total of about $1,400.

“That’s the least they could do. If they wanted to be really nice, they could’ve given us way more,” Gill said.

The couple insists it’s not because they don’t like dogs. In fact, they owned one.

Instead, they said it’s the airline’s responsibility to notify people about four-legged passengers traveling next to them.

In a statement sent to Insider, a representative for the airline said: “SIA endeavors to notify customers who may be seated next to an assistance dog prior to boarding. In circumstances where customers seated next to an assistance dog request to be moved, we will assist to re-seat customers within the same cabin if space permits.”

Credit / Sonya Kate Wilson / Getty.

The letter further shares that it wasn’t possible to “move Mr. and Mrs. Press within the same cabin as the Premium Economy Class cabin was full.”

Gill explained that they were disappointed with the airline’s poor response times and hoped it would be accountable for the discomfort they experienced; first with the gassy dog and then with the small seats.

“The principal wasn’t about the money, it was truly about making people accountable,” she told Insider.  

She continued: “We didn’t receive the experience we paid for.”

Offering proof that it wasn’t for the money, the couple said they are donating the money to Blind Low Vision NZ, an organization that provides guide dogs to locals who are blind or have low vision.

We love animals and while this story is quite funny, we understand the distress experienced by Gill and Warren Press. We’re also very happy to hear they’re donating the money to service dogs!

How would you handle this kind of situation? Please share this story and let’s see what others have to say!

What do you think is worse on a flight? Screaming children or smelly pets? Check out the below story and tell us what you think!


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